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Congress to Take up Trade Tariff Question

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Bloomberg is reporting that a new bill has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that would pave the way for the U.S. government to apply additional duties to imported goods.

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The bill appears to be a specific reaction to the Dec. 19 U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that struck down countervailing duties the U.S. Commerce Department placed on small OTR and ag tires imported from China. The court stated that current U.S. trade law doesn’t authorize the Commerce Department to set or collect additional tariffs from countries that lack domestic markets to help establish prices.

The bill was introduced by Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), who is also chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, and by fellow committee members Kevin Brady (R-Texas) and Sander Levin (D-Mich.), and Jim McDermott (D-Wash.).

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In the December 2011 decision on GPX International Tire Corp. v. U.S., appeals court jurist Timothy Dyk wrote that under U.S. laws passed in 1988 and 1994, “Congress adopted the position that countervailing duty law does not apply to non-market economy countries. If (the U.S.) Commerce (Department) believes that the law should be changed, the appropriate approach is to seek legislative change,” Dyk wrote in rejecting the positions of plaintiffs Titan International Inc., Bridgestone Americas and the USW.

The House bill and an anticipated Senate version are aimed at addressing Dyk’s admonishment.

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